Todays readings.. 2 Chronicles 9, Ezekiel 44, John 11
What do you believe? Equally important, if not more so – is – Why do you believe what you claim to believe? Most of us have searched our hearts in times past to give a genuine answer to this question ourselves.
Our asking of this question was prompted by what we read today in John ch. 11. Jesus was conversing with his disciples and when he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep” [v.11] they did not realize that he meant he had died, “they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” [v.15] If he had been there it seems most likely he would have healed him.
The account of the drama of Lazarus coming out of the tomb “his hands and his feet bound with linen straps, and his face wrapped with a cloth” [v.44] was surely an overwhelming experience for those privileged to witness it? This happened “so that you may (really) believe,” said Jesus; that is, have the certainty of complete conviction in your hearts.
We believe in the return of Jesus – that this is the only hope for an increasingly discordant, chaotic and troubled world. The troubles vary depending on where you live. Many troubles are man-made; threats of conflict using long range powerful rockets; others are earthquakes, huge forest fires and the like.
Do we possess such total conviction in our hearts that we will not be shaken when this world starts to become torn apart in the time Daniel was told about? A time of awesome trouble that immediately precedes the resurrection? He was told ”there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” [Dan. 12 v.1].
Jesus also predicted this, see Matt. 24 v.21-27.
Is our conviction of belief such that it is creating in us complete confidence and sureness of mind? At the end of that marvellous chapter about the sureness of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15), Paul tells them, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” Our personal experience is that the more we abound in the work of the Lord the stronger becomes our sureness of belief.